Category Archives: Places

Sunrise over Kohala Mountain

Sunrise over the Kohala mountains

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Signs of Autumn.’ See more responses here.

We’re a little short on autumnal changes here. I tend to mark seasonal changes in terms of wildlife, such as the return of humpback whales in winter. For autumn, the return of Pacific golden plovers from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska is probably the most notable.

Outside of wildlife, the shortening of the days does register here. It’s not as dramatic as when I lived in Washington State, with summer sunsets around 9 p.m. and winter darkness setting in a little after 4 p.m.. In Hawaii, the equivalent times are 7 p.m. and 6 p.m., not such a big difference.

But it does make a difference for my morning commute, and autumn signals the time when I usually leave home when it’s mostly dark and arrive at work when it’s mostly light. I also try and give myself a little extra commuting time so I can pull over and take photographs when the sunrise merits it, such as this streaky red sunrise over Kohala mountain.

Signs: Kona Brewing

A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii
A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii

Kona Brewing is a local brewery, founded in 1994. They’ve changed hands a couple of times since then, most recently being hived off to PV Brewing Partners by previous owners, Craft Brew Alliance, so that entity could be swallowed by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. PV Brewing Partners is based in Kansas City, which is probably not the first place to spring to mind when thinking of white sand beaches and surfing.

But never mind. The point is that their beer is pretty good and their Castaway IPA is generally my beer of choice when I’m out and about, which isn’t often. And, like all beer companies, they have neon signs which they distribute to stores, bars, and restaurants. These are a couple of the signs.

I prefer the top one. When I look at the red and green one, I always think the creature is an alligator, something to do with the head being the wrong shape and the lack of toes. In the top version, the gecko is more recognizable and the addition of the islands makes it a winner with me!

Red-masked parakeets

Red-masked parakeets at Kohanaiki Beach Park.
A Red-masked parakeet at Kohanaiki Beach Park.

I’ve lived in Hawaii for more than nine years now and had previously never seen any of those most tropical of birds, the parrots. One reason for this is that parrots aren’t native to Hawaii, but a variety of different parrots have become established here.

Red-masked parakeets were first seen here in 1988 and are probably the most common parrot on the Big Island. They’re natives of Ecuador and Peru, but are now fairly well established on the Kona coast, which is where I saw this a pair, in Kohanaiki Beach Park. While they forage along the coast here, they roost high up on the slopes of Hualalai Volcano.

Alexandrian laurel

The flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii
The fruits and flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii

Alexandrian laurel (Calophyllum inophyllum) is known as Kamani in Hawaii. It’s a canoe plant, which means it was brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian voyagers. They would have carried this evergreen tree because of its importance for building their ocean-going outriggers.

The small white and yellow flowers usually bloom twice a year and are followed by round fruits with a single large seed.

Spencer Beach Park beach

The beach at Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii

A few days ago, I posted about a heron encounter (here) when I didn’t have enough time to walk along the coast before going to work. I took this photo when I did have that time.

This is a view from Spencer Beach Park towards Kawaihae Harbor. The footprints are mine. There were no others. As a start to the day, it doesn’t get much better.

Subaru Telescope visit

The Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii at sunset
The Subaru Telescope at sunset.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Going Back….’ See more responses here.

I was thinking about posting photos going back to my first visit to Hawaii, but in looking at them, I realized that I’d never posted photos from my tour of the Subaru Telescope, which I took a few months after moving here. At the time, the Subaru Telescope was the only one on the summit of Mauna Kea that offered tours to the general public, though the tours have been shut down by the current Covid situation.

I particularly remember the fabulous views from the walkway around the exterior of the telescope. The interior of the telescope was also interesting, though in the abstract way of a giant piece of equipment. This is not a telescope where one gets to put an eye to the lens to see what’s going on, though I was charmed to learn that when Princess Sayako of Japan dedicated the telescope in 1999, she was able to do just that because a special eyepiece had been constructed for that purpose!

The Subaru Telescope is a Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope. It has a large field of view which makes it ideal for wide-field sky surveys. For more information about the Subaru Telescope, visit https://subarutelescope.org/en/. The telescope’s live camera stream captured a cool video of last month’s Perseid Meteor Shower which can be seen here.